Was Mark Clattenburg right to let Nani’s goal stand?

Rulebook defeats common sense. Again.

Whether or not you see eye-to with Mark Clattenburg‘s decision to allow Nani‘s opportunist goal against Tottenham on Saturday, The Spoiler is sure everyone can agree on one thing – he handled the situation with all the grace and lucidity of Gazza in a local Wetherspoons.

What do you reckon?

14 responses so far
  • Darren // November 1, 2010 at 7:31 am

    The first thing you learn as a youngster playing in competitive games is “play to the whistle”.
    You could write a book about what offences may have occurred and what Mr Clattenburg could have blown up for, but they’re irrelevant distractions. The fact is that he didn’t blow for any of them, and therefore the ball remained in play when Gomes put it down. The United players all knew that the ball was still in play, because you can see them urging Nani to shoot. Why weren’t Spurs players paying that much attention?

    Gomes doesn’t have the authority to decide whether it’s a free-kick, and players have to play to the referee’s decision and let the game’s ruling bodies decide later if there’s action to be taken against the ref.

    It was a goal, whether you like it or not. End of.

  • Dan // November 1, 2010 at 11:49 am


  • AJ // November 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I’m a keeper and I always tell my team mates to play to the whistle, irrespective of foul/ offence. If in doubt, just kick it out.

    Gomes stopping is just the continental way, over here we play to the whistle. Nani did the same thing and stopped till Scholes and Carrick told him to kick it.

  • Sophie Stepover // November 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    The Spurs were caught trying to defend Gomes’ assumption instead of the net.

    Scholes would have booted it in if Nani didn’t.

  • BKRed // November 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Let me start by saying that I am a United supporter. It’s a shocking mistake by Clattenberg not to have seen the handball which I believe the linesman saw. I really think that Clattenberg should have gone with the linesman’s call in the name of getting it right, however, the fact still remains that if the ref doesn’t blow the whistle then there is no reason to stop. Gomes should have never put the ball down without confirming that a freekick was given. Terrible refereeing and a laughable schoolboy mistake by Gomes. The bad part is that we defended impeccably for 90 minutes, shut down Bale completely and aside from Assou-Ekoto’s (i think it was him) strike that hit the upright, they barely got into the last third of the pitch. We worked hard and earned the 1-0 win and now, the only thing anyone is going to talk about was this mistake. Thanks again Clattenburg, you muppet.

  • Dan // November 1, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I agree, it’s unfair that the focus is now on Clattenburg’s shocking decision and not Man U’s preformance. I don’t think spurs would have gotten anything even if the goal was disallowed. Wasn’t it Van der Vart that hit the post?

  • Fiel // November 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Step by step review.

    1 No penalty it was a dive Clattenburg could have booked Nani but didn’t this is England dives are ignored not booked

    2 Nani handles it flag stays down and Clattenburg give Gomes a chance to deal with it. FIFA wants cautions for deliberate handballs in EPL not so much. Also Clattenburg is within his rights to give Gomes a chance for the advantage if it is there.

    3 Gomes picks it up (if he thought it was a free kick he would have placed it in the 6 yard box where the handball occured seeing as he ran 15 yards he is taking the advantage option as there is no whistle) and Clattenburg lets him take his advantage.

    4 Clattenburg lets Gomes take the advantage and then Gomes puts it down after the advantage has been played by running it 15 yards using up Clattenburg’s time to call it back. If Gomes did want to knock it up field as he appeared running with it Clattenburg would have been chastised for calling it back how could he know Gomes was just attempting to steal 15 yards.

    5 Nani runs back and puts the ball in the net no whistle had been blown.

    6 20 seconds later after signalling a goal by running up the line the assistant puts up his flag and Clattenburg says I didn’t call it then I can’t call it now its not my fault if Gomes wastes the advantage.

    3 other things: I don’t support either team, Gomes is not continental, and although had Clattenburg cautioned Nani for the dive or the handball it would have stopped the goal it would have been inconsistent with English refereeing culture so the no call was to be expected even if in this case it appears farcical in the same way De Jong’s leg breaker no call appears to the rest of the world.

  • Red // November 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    hate Man Utd, but afraid I have to say Clattenburg was right. He didn’t blow the whistle. Gomes should have just thrown the ball into play again.

  • Darren // November 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm


    Couple of points:

    1. Why was it a dive? Does a two-handed pull on Nani’s shirt by Kaboul not count as a foul, or did it suddenly become part of the laws whilst I was looking away? Kaboul had hold of Nani’s arm as he let him spin away, then he had one hand on either side of his waist from behind as he tried to catch up.

    2. Gomes is not a Continental, quite right; but given that he did play 128 games over four seasons in Holland, we can probably agree that AJ means that he was playing the Continental way.

  • John // November 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Darren…needless to say, Nani handles the ball then whether its a foul or not.

  • Blaine // November 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Correct call.

    But it’s a cheap, shit goal and it’s hardly worth celebrating like an asshole.

    I’m surprised Nani actually shot it without first doing 30 stepovers.

  • Darren // November 1, 2010 at 6:19 pm


    Agreed; I’m not disputing that he touched it with his hand, I never raised that possibility at all. I don’t necessarily agree that it was a dive, I think there was contact of some sort.

  • arjun // November 1, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Great Analysis by Fiel..

    I believe that the onse to blame is both Gomez and Clattenburg. The ref should have indicated that its advantage play by the known “Two straight arms parallel to the ground” hand signal, I dont believe he did that.. He just took his whistle out of this mouth and ran in the opposite direction.. And Gomez of course, if he should play to the whistle and if somehow he thought the whistle was blown he should have taken the free kick some 15 yards behind..not run with the ball around in his hands and suddenly drop it down to take a kick some 15 yards away from where the handball occured.. Gomez is virtually to be blame.

    Hats off to Nani and the united players who read the game well..

  • John // November 2, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Good point I saw earlier on Nani being a real Nob and celebrating like he won the cup…

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